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Thursday, July 11, 2019

June 14th: Rumlang to Neuhausen

Surprisingly enough, I managed to sleep until about 6:00am, evidence that the Trader Joe's melatonin tablet worked. The secret was that when I woke up at 2:00am, I didn't just lay awake, but immediately took another one.

I took both sons to breakfast so that Xiaoqin could have a little more sleep time, but even she couldn't sleep much longer because of the jet-lag. Boen discovered Nutella on this day (we never have any in the house because his brother is allergic to hazelnuts) After getting organized, it was about 10:00am before we departed from the hotel, leaving our empty bike boxes and luggage with them. The first few meters with the triplet felt shaky, and I wondered if I really could do a long distance bike tour with the two kids and luggage, but I knew from past experience that we would eventually settle down.

Our plan for the day was to ride to Stein Am Rhein. I'm not in the habit of making reservations far ahead on a bike tour, but the hotel had particularly poor reviews on and so offered same day cancellations, so I figured that we could cancel the reservation if we couldn't make it that far. The bike path to Eglisau on the Rhein was bike route 29, and once there we would switch to Swiss Bike route #2. Unlike the bike paths in Germany, Swiss National bike routes are well signed, though not always paved, and frequently are bike lanes rather than bike paths in major cities.

As I expected, the shakiness of the triplet experience gradually diminished throughout the day, and we sync'd together as a team. At noon, we rode off the designated path in Glattfelden to find a supermarket, where we bought a picnic lunch and then found a city park with benches along the bike path with a fountain to eat. As we rode into the village, people would stare and point at us, but the Swiss were much too polite to make random comments.

After lunch, we joined up with Swiss bike route #2 after a climb, and I realized that we were riding up the river towards the Bodensee. When I had last ridden this way in 2011, I hadn't even noticed, since I was riding my single bike. About 10km from Neuhausen, the path dipped down to the river and then we had to climb back up, which made me realize that Stein Am Rhein was out of the question. Using a smartphone app, I booked a hotel in Neuhausen, reasoning that we'd at least visit the Rheinfall that day.

To my surprise, the bike path crossed over into Germany, and proceeded to roll along before descending across along the Rhein until we saw the falls. Boen had his priorities straight: his first words off the bike were: “Daddy, I'm hungry. I want ice cream!” We bought ice cream at Swiss prices in front of the tourist attraction and watched the falls.

When we were done, we found ourselves having to climb from the bottom of the falls to town. The grade was much too steep for the triplet in our condition, so I had to stop the bike, ask the stokers to get off, and push the bike up the hill. Fortunately, we were on a bike path in a pedestrian only zone, so it was safe. We got out into the city, set a course for our hotel, and then looped around until we found it, a 4 story structure near the center of town.

Upon checking in, we discovered to our surprise that the manager insisted that we bring the bikes indoors, triplet and all, into their billiards room. There was even a power plug for us to charge the ebike. We pulled our luggage up the elevator, and then proceeded with what would be our regular routine: shower and laundry for the kids, then a walk downtown where we had dinner at the local Thai restaurant at expensive Swiss prices. The supermarket was still opened, so we bought a bottle of milk for Boen's inevitable mid-night awakenings, which Xiaoqin had to deal with.

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